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Malaysia sees strong economic ties with the UAE

No impact on bilateral relationship due to Ipic dispute with 1MDB

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Bilateral trade between the UAE and Malaysia has decreased since 2014 due to slowdown in the global economy and drop in oil prices, according to the Malaysia’s Ambassador to the UAE.

“The bilateral trade, which was about $3.3 billion (Dh12.11 billion) in 2006 jumped to $8 billion in 2012-14 but dropped last year to $6.14 billion due to economic slowdown around the globe and drop in oil prices,” said Dato Ahmad Anwar Adnan.

He said total Malaysian exports to the UAE were about $3.04 billion and import figure stood at nearly $3.59 billion.

Malaysia mainly exports jewellery, electrical and electronic products, machinery and cooling equipment to the UAE and imports petroleum products with crude oil being the main import item.

The country spent about $1.18 billion in importing petroleum products last year, of which $400 million spent on importing crude oil from the UAE.

“The UAE is the largest trading partner for us in the Gulf region and is the fifteenth largest trading partner globally. The trade volumes have increased in the last ten years and we see this continuing in future.”

The UAE is also investing in Malaysia in a big way with total investments of about $1.56 billion till last year. The country is involved in 32 projects generating employment for about 4,000 people in Malaysia, according to the ambassador.

The investments are mainly concentrated in chemical products, metal products, machinery and petroleum products sectors.

The ambassador said the controversy surrounding International Petroleum Investment Company’s (Ipic) investments in Malaysia’s 1MDB fund has not affected bilateral relations between the two countries.

“Our relationship is strong and covers a wide spectrum of areas including economy, politics and security cooperation. We share information on security related matters and have military cooperation. The UAE continues to be the most important country for us,” he said.

Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund is embroiled in a debt payment dispute with 1MDB and is seeking $6.5 billion from the troubled Malaysian state investment company. It has recently approached a London court to arbitrate in the matter.

Meanwhile, Malaysia continues to draw tourists from the UAE though the figures have slightly gone down over the years.

More than 15,000 people from the UAE travelled to Malaysia last year, down from about 25,000 tourists in 2010 due to prevailing economic climate in the Gulf countries, the ambassador added.

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